Cream Puff has been on my to-do-list for a very long time, so long that I nearly forgot about it, until I went through my list of baking challenges item by item last week. Since I have not participated in Aspiring Bakers for the past 3 months (my apologies, ladies!) due to vacation and unavailability of durians, I decided to make a last minute dash for this month's Aspiring Bakers #34 - Choux Pastry.
I was lucky to come across this good recipe which I followed exactly and it yielded pretty good results. Well for a first timer, I consider the baking process of my "virgin" batch of cream puffs to be quite smooth-sailing with no hiccups, and the result was quite a pleasant surprise! Though I wasn't quite sure whether the pastry crust was supposed to turn out this way, well my pastry crust became crispy and crunchy after the 30 min cooling in the oven. And it remained that way even hours after baking, only on the 2nd day then the crust became slightly soft. Did I over-bake it? Hmm, don't think so. From what I read, other readers had the same experience too, so this recipe is supposed to give you crispy and crunchy crust. By the way, I stored the uncut and unfilled cream puff pastry in a tupperware box at room temperature and the patisserie cream cling-wrapped and chilled in the fridge. Only when I am just about to eat the cream puffs, then I will slice open the puffs and smear a layer of cold patisserie cream in between. I know I should pipe the cream since it looks better on photo, but no time lah!
By the way, when I first put the cream puffs into the oven, I was kind of nervous since the piping was quite flat and there was no baking powder or any other raising agent in the recipe, hence I was afraid that the cream puff pastry will not rise at all. But luckily, my hopes proved to be unfounded and they all rose and held their shape pretty well. Thank God, otherwise my 2 chickens will have a tea-party again!
Recipe adapted from Florence (Do What I like)
(Makes 9 cream puffs)
Choux Pastry85ml water
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
50g bread flour
20g cake flour
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
1. Cook water, butter, sugar, salt and vanilla essence in non-stick saucepan until bubbling hot, then reduce heat to low.
2. Add flour mixture all in one go and mix with wooden spoon until a dough is formed.
3. Still on low heat, cook dough for 1 to 2 min on low heat until thin white film is formed at the bottom of the saucepan. (Well, I didn't see any thin white film forming but I stuck to the timing of 2 min on low heat.)
4. Transfer dough to mixing bowl and beat till lukewarm. (You don't have to use an electric whisk at this stage yet, just mix well with a wooden spoon first.)
5. Add the 2 eggs (in 3 additions) and mix till well-blended and smooth. (I used electric whisk here to whisk till well-blended and smooth, it didn't take very long by the way.)
6. Place batter into a piping bag and pipe into a lined pan in rounds of 5 cm diameter. Spray some water on it.
(I used a Wilton 1M decorating tip suitable for creating the swirls on the cream puff pastry but you can use any other decorating tip that is big enough. I cut an opening in the corner of a ziploc bag or a piping bag, squeezed in the plastic coupler base down into the bag through the opening, then I placed the decorating tip over the part of the coupler base protruding from the bag and screwed it tight with the coupler ring. This way, you can easily change the tip on the outside without having to change the coupler base within the bag. Then I placed the piping bag into a cup and filled it with the batter. You can refer to this wilton page for illustration on how to use a tip and a coupler. )
7. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsius for 25 min, then at 180 degrees celsius for 8 to 10 min or till dry and golden brown.
8. Immediately turn off the oven, but do not open the door, not even to check on the puffs during the baking process! Let them cool in the oven for another 30 min. (This will ensure that the puffs do not deflate and will produce a crispy and crunch crust! )
Patisserie Cream (Custard)
240 ml skimmed milk
5 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 full egg and 2 egg yolks
2 tbsp cornstarch
1. Mix 60ml milk with cornstarch and mix well till smooth. (I am using full cream milk.)
2. Add beaten egg and egg yolks into the cornstarch mixture and mix well.
3. Boil the remaining 180ml milk with sugar and mix well in a non-stick saucepan until bubbling hot. Pour 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg-cornstarch mixture from step 2, stirring all the time.
4. Pour the egg-cornstarch mixture through a strainer back into the rest of the boiling milk. Stir constantly till the mixture thickens over medium-high heat. Watch out that you do not burn the custard.
5. Wrap the custard with a layer of clingwrap touching the surface of the custard. This is to prevent a hard film from forming on the custard, then chill the custard in the fridge till ready to use.
I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #34 - Choux Pastry (August 2013) organized by Foodie Baker.
I am also submitting this post to the Little Thumbs Up (Eggs) event hosted by Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out, and organized by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of my little favourite DIY.